December 13, 2021 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

As a father of two young boys and as a settler-ally of Indigenous First Nations, Ron Hope, a third-year Social Justice and Peace Studies (SJPS) student, wanted London City Council to know that “my children and I want to be able to enjoy Deshkan Ziibi (Thames River) in safety one day. I want, most importantly of all, to give safe and clean drinking water to the Indigenous Oneida People that live down river.”

Using lessons learned from his courses, Hope worked on a presentation to City Council. He spoke at the City’s Public Participation Meeting on the Budget on November 29, 2021. Speaking on behalf of Antler River Rally, a community partner, Hope supported a plan that would see electricity savings from the Greenway wastewater treatment plant invested in new programs to curb raw and partially treated sewage from being released into the Thames River/Deshkan Ziibi.

Hope says his background in the SJPS program pushed him to speak at the Public Participation Event at London City Council. Despite some nerves due to the uncertainty of using Zoom, Hope says he enjoyed the experience and looks forward to doing it again.

Hope spoke to a letter Dr. Cull, former King’s English professor and co-founder of Antler River Rally, had prepared. “I added my own emotions, insights, and reflections that were gained from my time spent as a SJPS major over the last three years at King’s. SJPS3500E: Community-Based Learning most certainly aided in this endeavour thanks to intricate and in-depth instruction by (Social Justice and Peace Studies professor) Shawna Lewkowitz,” says Hope.

Hope explained the release of the sewage impacts the overall health of the river. The City of London 2022 Wastewater & Treatment Budget Amendments will see more funding going to eliminating sewage bypasses and overflows. The proposal would also serve as a crucial part of London’s truth and reconciliation work. Many First Nations downstream of London, including the Chippewa of the Thames and Oneida depend on the river for their drinking water.

Hope became involved with the Antler River Rally because it spoke to him in a positive way. “It is a post-colonial organization that is cleaning up society’s litter along Deshkan Ziibi, while supporting any precariously-housed people living on the banks. The river is a communal place that contemporary London citizens take for granted,” says Hope. 

Media Coverage:

The London Free Press: Londoners have their say on proposed 2022 city budget